Here Are the Winners of the 2013 Metro Pulse Paper Box Design Contest

Winner: Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson

Artist: Camille Worley

"You should paint motorcycles" may not be exactly what you'd imagine in the way of concerned parental advice, but for Camille Worley it was the beginning of a career.

Worley graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2006 with a BA in Art Studio with emphasis in drawing, painting, and photography, but art has always been important to her: "Somebody asked me when I started drawing, and I really didn't know until I found an old picture of me when I was three. I was in my pajamas, sitting at a little table painting a picture."

After her university days, Worley spent a lot of time painting for own pleasure, "mostly acrylics and oils, and I was doing photography, portraits, weddings and things." But it was while she was working at her mother's store—Longrider Leather in London, Ky.—when her mother turned to her and uttered those fateful words. "After that, a friend hooked me up with another friend who told me to play with an airbrush to see what I could do."

It took some trial and error to get a grip on the airbrush, but, when Craig Smith, owner of London's The Paint Shop called in search of talent, she was ready to dive right in. Now Smith calls on Worley for a lot of commissions—her work excites a lot of interest among riders. "Word of mouth travels fast with riders. When you treat them right, they treat you right."

What makes Worley's work so popular is that she's able to give motorcycle riders exactly what they want. She's careful to balance her own artistic inclinations with the demands of her clients: "These are very expensive things that they want to personalize; they want to make them stand out. Ultimately, you have to paint for them." What sort of things do riders want on their bikes? "Well, I've painted a lot of skulls. But there are all kinds of things. Probably the most unusual one I did was underwater fish scene. The client brought me some pictures of her bathroom—it was decorated with fish."

It was her association with The Paint Shop that brought Worley to the Paper Box Design Contest. The Paint Shop has a contract with Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson—The Riders Destination, home of The Shed, located in Maryville. "What I wanted to do was to rep the store, the riders, and the countryside." So the Dragon—aka, U.S. Route 129, a famous destination road for motorcyclists—seemed the right choice, but she also included "some safety elements—because that's important."

Winning the contest comes at a great time for Worley. She's set up her own studio where she also paints portraits and offers mural service: but motorcycles are her business, and she's still closely associated with The Paint Shop which lists her as their "Artist Extraordinaire." Interestingly, despite her acumen at painting bikes and her obvious affection for those who ride, Worley isn't a rider herself, but, she says, "I'm always excited when somebody asks me if I'm ready to take a ride!"

Runner Up: Arts & Heritage Fund

Artist: Dawn Hawkins

Traveling the world with a military family gave Dawn Hawkins an appreciation for the diversity of natural beauty, which excited her childhood interest in painting and drawing. She says that the varied landscapes were intriguing and "intensified my passion for painting… The awe-inspiring trees, coasts, and sunsets were a constant inspiration."

Settling in Knoxville at age 15, Dawn pursued her love of painting and drawing informally. Her instinctive inclinations and local history make her a natural choice for the Arts and Heritage Fund's paper box submission. Her design encapsulates the varied media and passions that help define the city—an appropriate message for the fund and its manager, the Arts and Culture Alliance of Greater Knoxville.

Her paper box also includes her most recent artistic fascination—dragonflies. She says that "their grace and beauty is amazing" and, for Hawkins, her personal response to nature is an integral part of her process. She writes, "As I paint, I engulf myself within my subject as if I were actually an intrinsic part of the landscape. To me, art is a synthesis of my personal feeling."

Hawkins' work is displayed in many local galleries and shops, and you can find her at the Gallery Nuance on the historic 100 Block of Gay Street.

Runner Up: Battlefield Knoxville

Artist: Chad Hatala

Chad Hatala's artistic output first showed on that most ubiquitous gallery, the family fridge. Growing up in Pittsburgh in the decline of the Rust Belt, art was an escape route for Hatala that, he says, "spiraled into a kind of artistic tornado." After meeting a relative who was a graphic designer, Hatala started forming a vision of his future, one which he saw himself as "being able to help people share their experiences but not using words."

Since then, Hatala has pursued his vision through work with non-profits, which led him to a good base of freelance work that he anticipates formalizing soon. Within the next year, he hopes to launch Hatala Ink, a full-service design firm that will also offer brand development and logo design.

It was his freelance portfolio that led Battlefield Knoxville to pick him to create their paper box entry. "They had a theme in mind because they wanted to push the idea that they have more than just one game to offer," he says. In addition to offering combat simulation games, Battlefield Knoxville has one of the largest and most advanced video gaming lounges in town.

The theme features Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog—both of which were games that Hatala played as a kid, but, he says, "I guess I wasn't that good." Instead Hatala's passion is his art: "For me the hobby is design and the work is design."

Runner Up: Rococo Boutique

Artist: Courtney Garrison

Courtney Garrison is the owner of Rococo Boutique on Market Square where she offers one of the most interesting retail experiences in Knoxville. The boutique is a quirky little all-purpose arts boutique where you can shop for interesting stationary, unique gifts, jewelry created from found objects and also commission a building tattoo, aka a mural for the wall of your choice.

"We're very arts service oriented in the back of the store, and out front we have all the cool fun stuff," Garrison says. That cool stuff includes the presence of Queen Fifi, the Rococo Boutique French Bulldog, who features prominently on Garrison's paper box design. "Fifi writes our customer email. She describes her adventures on Market Square. And she dresses up for all of our store events."

Garrison took a BFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design and a Master of Fashion design from Florence, Italy's Polimoda Institute. After her European studies, she spent some quality time in Manhattan, illustrating garments for designer Ann Sui's archives; so the illustration process is second nature to her. She returned to Knoxville to raise her daughter and, apparently, have a good time with her business.

For her design, Garrison wanted "to think out of the box and do something a little different. We always do wild, out-of-the-ordinary stuff here. The maritime theme just popped into my head. It was a lot of fun to do—I hand-painted and glazed it myself. I must have spent 100 hours working on it. But I'm glad I did."